Re-reading ‘The Birds’

Usha Raman

I picked up a back issue of Zoetrope All Story, a magazine launched by Francis Ford Coppola last week, and, leafing through it, came across a stark full page illustration to the story that began on the facing page: ‘The Birds’. The story was presented to the readers of the magazine to mark the 50th anniversary of the Hitchcock film based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story. I had read the story many many years ago and I confess to not having seen the film (now I really do want to see it). Reading it again, all these years later, reminding me why I had be so captivated by du Maurier as a young reader. With understated horror, anticipated but never entirely revealed, she takes you from what begins as just another day in rural England, bleak though it is, with a family that is unremarkable other than for the foresight and common sense shown by the central character, through to what appears to be hopeless resignation. Told almost entirely through conversation and single point of view, the story stays with you long after the short time spent reading it.

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